Developing new quality indicators to improve end-of-life cancer care for Canadians

Date posted: 
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Data access has been approved for a research study to provide an updated look at how end-of-life cancer care is provided in Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The study aims to advance the field of cancer end-of-life care by developing new quality indicators (QIs) and benchmarks with updated data, using common definitions for comparability.

Examples of quality indicators include: how often people die in hospital; and how often families receive homecare supports or a physician home visit prior to death.

“The quality of end-of-life cancer care varies across the country,” says project co-Principal Investigator Dr. Kim McGrail, Associate Professor, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, School of Population and Public Health, at the University of British Columbia. “While evidence-based QIs and benchmarks can lead to improvements, for the few established QIs, the only comparable data is from 2009, which needs to be updated to be relevant.”

“The availability of cancer administrative data across the country gives us tremendous opportunities to develop new QIs and benchmarks, but this has not been explored as yet. We aim to update and develop new QIs for end-of-life cancer care.”

By measuring how care is provided in different settings and how end-of-life care for cancer patients is delivered in different provinces, the researchers hope to be able to show what is being done right in Canada, and what needs to change. The study aims to improve care by reporting valid and evidence-based QIs and benchmarks from across the country, with the ultimate goal of leading to better care for cancer patients who are dying.

The project is funded by the Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC). Other investigators on the project include: Dr. Stuart Peacock, Professor, Simon Fraser University; Dr. Lisa Barbera, Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; and Dr. Hsien Seow, Associate Professor, McMaster University.

PopData will link four data sets from BC Ministry of Health with the BC Vital Statistics Deaths data set, and data from the BC Cancer Agency and the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS).


Page last revised: March 20, 2019